There was a time several years ago when I honestly considered suicide. It was a dark, rainy day New Jersey day and I had enough. I pulled off the road into a parking lot and literally broke down in my car. Nothing was working the way I wanted it to. Everything was going wrong. I thought I made every mistake in the book. I was doomed. I looked around, and all the evidence pointed to the fact that my life was basically over so why keep going.
There was another time when I was a freshmen in college and I got a call from my mother back home and she told me that I received a letter from NYU, my dream school, and told me that I got accepted. I looked around, and all the evidence pointed to the fact that my life was basically perfect - what could go wrong now? I was in great shape physically, I had great friends and relationships and I just got accepted to the school I'd always wanted to go to.
There is nothing like telling a good story.
In the two instances above my life was neither as good or as bad as I thought it was at the time. When I was really down in that parking lot, I was sitting in a car with a tank full of gas something that people struggle to do every day because (at that time) of high gas prices. I had a home to return to. I had family that loved me and I still had great friends and great relationships - I was just too wrapped up in the story I was telling myself to see that.
And when I thought things were great there were plenty of things I was doing wrong. Everything looked great through the lens I was looking through. The reality was that I was also an asshole and I wasn't building as strong of a foundation for the future as I should have been.
Whenever things have been going poorly in my life it's usually because I was wrapped up in a bad story. It's not like the universe decides to shove us into the plot of a bad movie. No, it's just the stories we're telling ourselves - every time.
This whole concept sounds really corny, I know, but it's true. Things are neutral. Things happen. The story we tell around those things decides everything. Tell yourself the right stories. Look at the world as objectively as possible and craft your mental scripts in a way that help you make the world better than when you got here.